Campsite decorating and costume contests are among the activities that keep families coming back to Jellystone Park locations in September and October
People often think summer is the busiest time of year in the campground business.
But it’s a different story at Jellystone Park Camp-Resorts, many of which offer multiple Halloween-themed weekends in September and October that sell out weeks or even months in advance.
“Our Halloween-themed weekends are incredibly popular, and they become more so each year as word gets out about the incredible activities we offer our guests,” said Trent Hershenson, vice president of marketing for Leisure Systems, Inc., which franchises Jellystone Park locations across the U.S. and Canada.
Indeed, most Jellystone Park resorts celebrate Halloween with campsite decorating and costume contests as well as trick-or-treating inside the campground. But the activities don’t stop there.
While most Jellystone Park locations offer magic pumpkin patches and pumpkin carving or painting contests as well as Monster Mash dances in the evenings, growing numbers of them also have spooktacular haunted graveyards, haunted trails, and haunted houses.
Many parks also offer a variety of traditional fall-themed weekends with scarecrow-making contests and fall crafts. A handful of Jellystone Park locations even have corn mazes.
Here’s a sampling of Halloween- and fall-themed weekends taking place at various Jellystone Park locations across the U.S. and Canada in September and October:
— Big Prairie/Holmes County, Ohio: This park kicks off its fall activities with an Apple Dumpling Festival Weekend Sept. 28 – 30. Activities occur on Friday evening and all-day Saturday and include the presence of local crafters, artisans and bakers. Participants can help make apple butter and take a Percheron Draft Horse wagon ride and explore the park’s eight-acre corn maze. Halloween-themed weekends are scheduled throughout October with costume contests for different age groups. Activities on the third weekend of October include zombie tag and “Ghosts in the Graveyard,” while a Monster Mash party is set for the last weekend of the month. www.whisperinghillsjellystone.com
— Bloomington, Indiana: This park will have a “Down on the Farm Scarecrow Weekend” Sept. 21-23 with pig corralling races, a family potato sack relay, a farm egg toss and a family scarecrow stuffing contest. Sept. 28-30 will be a Pumpkin Patch weekend with a magic pumpkin patch, pumpkin painting, campsite and cabin decorating, trick-or-treating and a glow stick wagon ride in the evening. There will also be four consecutive Halloween themed weekends in October with costume and campsite decorating contests, trick-or-treating and a haunted trail. www.lakemonroejellystone.com
— Bostic, North Carolina: This park will have six consecutive Halloween-themed weekends, including the last two weekends of September and all four weekends in October. Activities will include a costume parade with the bears, magic pumpkins, a pumpkin painting contest and campsite and cabin decorating contests. https://campgoldenvalley.com
— Brandon (Sioux Falls), S.D.: In addition to offering Halloween-themed activities in September and October, this park has a seven-acre corn maze with an easy section for young children and a more difficult section for teenagers and adults. Activities include a “Mutts in the Maze” event on Oct. 7, when furry friends are allowed into the maze. A portion of the proceeds from that event will be donated to the Sioux Falls Humane Society. https://jellystonesiouxfalls.com
— Burleson, Texas: This park will have five consecutive Fall Fiesta Weekends beginning with the last weekend of September. Activities will include a magic pumpkin patch, Halloween- and fall-themed crafts, a pumpkin launch, a pumpkin painting contest, a campsite decorating contest and zombie hunts. The park will also have Thanksgiving-themed activities during the first three weekends of November with a “Thanksgiving Feast Scavenger Hunt,” a “Stuff the Turkey Contest,” a “Turkey Baster Relay,” turkey trot races, and the park’s first annual “Gobble Contest” to see who can make the best gobbling sounds. www.northtexasjellystone.com
— Harrisville, Pennsylvania: This park has four consecutive Halloween-themed weekends beginning the last weekend of September that include Halloween crafts, a trick-or-treat parade, and a haunted pavilion. The last weekend of October will also include a kids Halloween scavenger hunt. https://pittsburghjellystone.com
— Lodi, California: This park will have a non-spooky Halloween-themed weekend Sept. 28-30 with a magic pumpkin patch as well as a costume contest, trick-or-treating, and a parade with the bears. Traditional Halloween-style activities will take place all four weekends of October with a Halloween costume parade, costume contests, pumpkin carving contests, campsite decorating contests, trick-or- treating, and a haunted trail. www.towerparkresort.com
— Niagara Falls, Ontario: This park will have Halloween-themed activities Oct. 5-7, including costume and campsite decorating contests, trick-or-treating and a Monster Mash Dance on Saturday night. https://jellystoneniagara.ca
— Pelahatchie, Mississippi: This park will offer five consecutive Halloween-themed weekends beginning the last weekend of September. Activities will include a Trail of Terror, a haunted trail for kids, a magic pumpkin patch, candy bar bingo, glow rides, a costume contest, trick-or-treating, and a campsite decorating contest. www.jellystonems.com
— Pittsfield, Ill.: This park will have Halloween-themed weekends the first two weekends of October with costume contests for adults, children, and pets; a campsite decorating contest; painting of the Witches House; a haunted trail maze; and a Witches House bonfire. On Oct. 20 – 22, the park serves as a base camp for the Pike County Fall Color Drive (www.pikeil.org), a countywide event that encourages visitors to drive down country roads dotted with historic one-room schoolhouses, country churches, and fall color. www.jellystonepinelakes.com
— Wichita Falls, Texas: This park will have Halloween-themed activities every weekend in October, including costume and campsite decorating contests and zombie tag. www.wichitafallsjellystone.com
For a complete listing of fall and Halloween-themed weekends at Jellystone Park locations, please visit https://www.campjellystone.com/explore/activities/theme-weekends/halloween/.